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Projecting the 2022 Lineup

Every year as we create the Twins Prospect Handbook, I’m intrigued by the amount of talent throughout the Twins system. Only a few players will meet their ultimate dream of suiting up for the Twins. Projecting the future can be a challenging exercise but it can be fun to investigate the crystal ball.

Roughly a year ago, I took a stab at projecting the 2021 Twins lineup. Some things have changed since that point with the rise of other prospects and changes in the organization. Let’s look one year further into the future. Who will comprise the 2022 Minnesota Twins?
Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
C: Mitch Garver
Garver was given quite the opportunity last season after Jason Castro was injured. He took full advantage as he now seems to fit into the Twins plans moving forward. He combined to hit .268/.335/.414 with 28 extra-base hits in 102 games. His game calling skills continue to improve, even if there were some rough moments on the defensive side of the ball last season. Garver is under team control through the 2023 season so it makes sense for the Twins to continue to rely on him behind the plate.

1B: Tyler Austin
Austin is a new addition to the Twins organization since last year and he moves to first base with the exit of Miguel Sano. Sano will be a free agent leading into the 2022 season and I think he is destined for a different organization at that point, especially after this year’s issues on and off the field. A lot can happen in the years ahead, but I’ve always felt Sano wants to play in a bigger market. Mauer’s retirement means there is a hole to fill at first base and Austin is under team control through the 2023 season. In less than 70 games last season, he clubbed 17 home runs, so a full season of Austin could be fun.

2B: Wander Javier
Javier missed all last season after having shoulder surgery. Even with the injury, he is still considered a top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. Back in 2015, he signed for a franchise record $4 million. He was limited in his pro debut with a hamstring injury and now he missed all last season. That being said, the kid can hit, and he was able to use the last year to add strength through his rehab process. Pitchers in the Midwest League better watch out because he is going to have a lot to prove in 2019.

3B: Jose Miranda
Out of every spot in this line-up, this was the toughest one to fill. In this scenario, Sano has left in free agency and there might not be much of a chance for him to stick at third base long-term. Miranda had a very strong season in the minors and he was named a Twins Daily Minor League All-Star. It seems like this is a position the club might need to fill through free agency or through shifting a middle infielder to a corner spot. For now, Miranda is trending in the right direction, so he would be the team’s best option.

SS: Royce Lewis
Minnesota has a lot riding on the future of Mr. Lewis. Twins fans have seen a revolving door of players trounced out to shortstop since Christian Guzman left. Since 2004, Pedro Florimon was the only shortstop to make back-to-back Opening Day starts. In the Twins Prospect Handbook, I wrote an article comparing Royce Lewis and Joe Mauer at similar points in their careers. Mauer just finished a tremendous 15-year career and fans can hope that Lewis will follow in his footsteps. Lewis will be facing a lot of pressure in the years to come but there has been nothing but positive signs since he joined the Twins organization.

LF: Alex Kirilloff
Kirilloff is coming off a monster season and in some other organizations, he would be considered the club’s top prospect. Missing a year due to injury allowed Kirilloff and Lewis to play together this season and win a championship in the FSL. Winning can be contagious and this dynamic duo can hopefully push each other all the way to Target Field. It seems possible for Kirilloff to make his big-league debut in 2019. Could be making his first All-Star appearance by 2022?

CF: Byron Buxton
Lewis and Kirilloff might be the wave of the future but Byron Buxton needs to be the wave of the present. The 2018 campaign was one to forget about for Buxton and he needs to return to some of what fans saw in 2017. If the Twins don’t sign Buxton to an extension, the 2022 season would be his last year before reaching free agency. Three seasons from now, Buxton should have multiple Gold Gloves to his credit and he could be the veteran leader on a club fighting for the playoffs.

RF: Trevor Larnach
The Twins took Larnach in the first round this past season and his college experience could help him to move quickly through the system. The College World Series hero helped Oregon State claim the title before beginning his pro career. His power continues to develop as he went from three homers in ’17 to 17 in the 2018 college season. He might not rank as high as some of the other prospects on this list but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a strong contributor on a playoff caliber team.

DH: Brent Rooker
Rooker could split time at first base with Austin but his power is something that can’t be ignored. Rooker continues to split time between first base and left field in the minors. With Mauer’s retirement, I think he should continue to strengthen his defense at first, especially since he has the best power in the Twins system. The front office has been focused on adding power during the current off-season so this could allow Rooker to debut at some point during the 2019 season.

What do you think the 2022 line-up will look like in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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34 Comments

I think both Polanco and Rosario will be in their last year of arbitration in 2022. 

I doubt Austin will hit enough to start long term. Of course, I've been wrong many times before and I hope I am again now.

 

C - Garver

1B - Rooker 

2B - Polanco

3B - Lewis 

SS - Javier

OF - Same as Cody's OF

DH - Rosario 

 

Bench - Rortvedt, Miranda and Baddoo/Severino

 

 

 

 

    • mikelink45 and caninatl04 like this

Thank you for taking a look ahead at what could be. My first thought was, no Sano?

Then I noticed there was no Nick Gordon. Then I thought about what happened which made Rosario expendable. He will be 30, still in his prime, but maybe he will get pushed out by Larnach and Kiriloff. My thought is one of those two will be a star and the other will possibly not live up to expectations. Anyways I have to believe Eddie will be here in 2022 in LF or RF.

I don't think Austin survives this spring. Sano doesn't want to be great, so if he wants to leave then I can live with it. I believe we would be sitting good withPolanco at 2nd at age 28 unless Gordon or Javier push him out. 

 

C - Garver

1B - Kepler

2B - Polanco

SS - Lewis

3B -Javier

RF - Kiriloff

CF - Buxton

LF - Rosario

DH - Rooker

 

    • mikelink45 and caninatl04 like this

I think both Polanco and Rosario will be in their last year of arbitration in 2022.
I doubt Austin will hit enough to start long term. Of course, I've been wrong many times before and I hope I am again now.

C - Garver
1B - Rooker
2B - Polanco
3B - Lewis
SS - Javier
OF - Same as Cody's OF
DH - Rosario

Bench - Rortvedt, Miranda and Baddoo/Severino


Rosario is a FA after 2021.
And, I'm not sure why you'd put Larnach in the outfield, with Rosario at DH.

 

Rosario is a FA after 2021.
And, I'm not sure why you'd put Larnach in the outfield, with Rosario at DH.

You are correct on Rosario - ty. Spotrac was wrong - should've checked Cot's right away. I had used the word "rotating" after DH but deleted it. Didn't want to list all 3 OF again w/Rosario in OF.

    • caninatl04 likes this

In your scenario, what happened to Kepler?

Also, hope I'm wrong, but with the concussion issues I sure hope Garver can stay at catcher. 

This assumes that the Twins will not re-sign any of their free agents, extend players, or sign other free agents.Highly unlikely.

 

Javier is a better fielder at SS than Lewis; if anything he would be the SS.

    • Danchat likes this
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RatherBeGolfing
Jan 10 2019 07:52 AM

Tyler Austin may very well not be on the team this year, let alone in 2022 

    • jjswol, PseudoSABR and caninatl04 like this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 10 2019 08:08 AM
SS- Royce Lewis
2B- Jorge Polanco
LF- Max Kepler
DH- Trevor Larnach
RF- Alex Kirilloff
3B- Wander Javier
1B- Brent Rooker
CF- Byron Buxton
C- Mitch Garver

Akil Baddoo
Jose Miranda
Ben Rortvedt
    • AceWrigley and caninatl04 like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jan 10 2019 08:22 AM

 

Thank you for taking a look ahead at what could be. My first thought was, no Sano?

Then I noticed there was no Nick Gordon. Then I thought about what happened which made Rosario expendable. He will be 30, still in his prime, but maybe he will get pushed out by Larnach and Kiriloff. My thought is one of those two will be a star and the other will possibly not live up to expectations. Anyways I have to believe Eddie will be here in 2022 in LF or RF.

I don't think Austin survives this spring. Sano doesn't want to be great, so if he wants to leave then I can live with it. I believe we would be sitting good withPolanco at 2nd at age 28 unless Gordon or Javier push him out. 

 

C - Garver

1B - Kepler

2B - Polanco

SS - Lewis

3B -Javier

RF - Kiriloff

CF - Buxton

LF - Rosario

DH - Rooker

I prefer this lineup to any others I've seen.

    • howieramone2 likes this

As far as fun projections go, I'm thinking that '22 could be a year the Twins are pushing for a World Series appearance. With that in mind, I'm thinking Garver and Austin are the two players probably not in this daily lineup. I would add Rortvedt as the starter (as much for his defense) with Garver as backup. I also like Baddoo in the oufield batting leadoff with Rooker and Lanarch splitting 1B/DH. As this point I would hate to give up Rosario, so I could see mixing him in as a 4th outfielder/DH in some fashion.

 

    • caninatl04 likes this

So by 2022 Sano and Rosario will be gone as free agents. I'm not sure that would be true but ...

 

C- Someone not in our system

1B - Kepler

2b - Polanco

SS - Lewis

3B - Rece Hinds (Twins first round pick in 2019 who will work out perfectly)

LF - Kiriloff

CF - Buxton

RF - Larnich

DH - Rooker

 

Realistically, I think the new FO is really building around that Lewis/Kiriloff nucleus and might make more moves to help them than they have the Buxton/Sano group so we could see some big trades in that time or maybe even real FA dollars spent. And the Twins have some high-upside minor league talent in A+ and below that could break out huge for the team this year. 

    • FargoFanMan likes this
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MMMordabito
Jan 10 2019 09:42 AM

Lil' Flash has certainly fallen out of favor.Can he figure out AAA in his second go, or does he get added to the pile of failed first rounders?

 

If Kirilloff, Lewis, Rooker and Larnach are all in the starting lineup in 2022, that would be amazing. I doubt the Twins have ever had 4 consecutive first rounders on the same major league field, let alone in the starting lineup.

    • Danchat and caninatl04 like this

Expect that at least three of the guys you have in the lineup, Cody, will burn out on their way to the Twins or for various reasons be gone.Expect there is a good chance Austin will be gone by opening day.

 

I like following minor league guys as much as anyone. But I don't see the Twins having a roster in 2022 that is made up almost entirely of players with three or less years experience.Gotta believe that more than Buxton from the current young core (Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Sano, and Polanco) will be with the team in three short years.  

Kind of bold to say that 8 of 9 positions will be home grown players.Also bold to say we don't extend/re-sign a single player from the current roster.With a few moves this article could be titled our best prospects at each position.

 

But I can see where predicting free agents or trades from the next 3 off seasons would not be logical....Aside from the obvious Mike Trout signing.

 

(Could also replace the Trout joke with - we would need to see who the non tendered players are from around the league that year)

    • MMMordabito likes this
What about Jeffers at C or DH and Rooker at 1B?
    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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MMMordabito
Jan 10 2019 10:28 AM

 

Kind of bold to say that 8 of 9 positions will be home grown players.Also bold to say we don't extend/re-sign a single player from the current roster.With a few moves this article could be titled our best prospects at each position.

 

But I can see where predicting free agents or trades from the next 3 off seasons would not be logical....Aside from the obvious Mike Trout signing.

 

(Could also replace the Trout joke with - we would need to see who the non tendered players are from around the league that year)

 

Baseball America does this every year, and it is more of a prospect prediction exercise than anything.

 

Here is their 2022:

 

C Ryan Jeffers 25
1B Brent Rooker 27
2B Jorge Polanco 28
3B Jose Miranda 24
SS Royce Lewis 23
LF Eddie Rosario 30
CF Byron Buxton 28
RF Alex Kirilloff 24
DH Trevor Larnach 25
SP Jose Berrios 28
SP Brusdar Graterol 23
SP Fernando Romero 27
SP Jhoan Duran 24
SP Blayne Enlow 23
CL Trevor May 32

    • mikelink45, KGB, howieramone2 and 2 others like this

 

Baseball America does this every year, and it is more of a prospect prediction exercise than anything.

 

Here is their 2022:

 

C Ryan Jeffers 25
1B Brent Rooker 27
2B Jorge Polanco 28
3B Jose Miranda 24
SS Royce Lewis 23
LF Eddie Rosario 30
CF Byron Buxton 28
RF Alex Kirilloff 24
DH Trevor Larnach 25
SP Jose Berrios 28
SP Brusdar Graterol 23
SP Fernando Romero 27
SP Jhoan Duran 24
SP Blayne Enlow 23
CL Trevor May 32

This looks fairly realistic.Assumes the Twins keep a couple of players and some move on by their choice. This is only of the home grown products and my expectation is that one or more will burn out before reaching here. 

Biggest bust factors would to me be Jeffers and Rooker.Many of the others are not far enough along in their careers to be anything more than a guess. 

but that is the fun of this.

Biggest thing about this is the more andbetter minor league talent you have the more chance some of it will succeed.  

I'm having trouble seeing Tyler Austin as the 1B in 2022 when I'm doubtful he's on the roster in 2019. With Cron almost certainly getting the starting job and Cruz locked in a DH, I'm having trouble finding a spot for a guy like Austin who doesn't have much positional flexibility for a team that is (unfortunately) likely to have a 3-man bench, at least at the start of the season. Unless I'm missing something, Austin doesn't have an option left, so unless we keep 4 bench guys, he gets traded or claimed. (I'm predicting the bench is Garver, Adrianza, and Cave)

 

Maybe this comes true if the Twins keep a 4th guy on the bench, but otherwise I'm having trouble spotting him in the organization.

    • LA VIkes Fan likes this
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bluechipper
Jan 10 2019 01:31 PM
I'm a big Luis Arraez fan, so I'll slot him in at 2B. Polanco can play 3B.

 

Baseball America does this every year, and it is more of a prospect prediction exercise than anything.

 

Here is their 2022:

 

C Ryan Jeffers 25
1B Brent Rooker 27
2B Jorge Polanco 28
3B Jose Miranda 24
SS Royce Lewis 23
LF Eddie Rosario 30
CF Byron Buxton 28
RF Alex Kirilloff 24
DH Trevor Larnach 25
SP Jose Berrios 28
SP Brusdar Graterol 23
SP Fernando Romero 27
SP Jhoan Duran 24
SP Blayne Enlow 23
CL Trevor May 32

I really like this projection.

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yarnivek1972
Jan 10 2019 01:39 PM
I don’t see how you can suggest that a lineup made up almost entirely of players that are 1-2 years away from their MLB debuts will be a contender in 3.

The issues are injuries.Not something that can be projected.I see the SP rotation having some outsider.If Sano turns it around he will be here with a big extension, if not your projection is right on.3B just does not work in any of these projections.We have not put 3B players into our minor league system.  

 

Of course the BP is not projected and there is good reason not to guess - it is so volatile, but I will add a prediction - there will be a system for use of relievers developed throughout the league and if they are smart the roster will be 28 men so we can have bench and platoons again.

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FargoFanMan
Jan 10 2019 02:52 PM
These games are fun and all but it truly shows the sad state of the franchise. I remember when we were looking ahead to 2018 with Buxton and Sano putting up MVP numbers. Remember when? 2018 future lineup C Turner/Garver 1B Kepler 2B Dozier SS Gordon 3B Sano LF Rosario CF Buxton RF AB Walker DH Mauer/Palka SP Santana SP Berrios SP Meyer SP May SP Stewart/Jay RP Rogers RP Chargois RP Reed RP Romero RP Burdi RP Melotakis Let’s hope 2022 brings us closer than 2018

This is more of a hope than a prediction.

 

C- Garver/Rortvedt

1B - Rooker

2b - Polanco

SS - Lewis

3B - Wander Javier

LF - Kiriloff

CF - Buxton

RF - Larnach

DH - Rosario


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